The F.A cup has come under scruitiny in recent years as a competition in decline with some of the bigger clubs resting players for more important Champions League matches and relagation threatened clubs prefering to be knocked out at the earlier stages to allow their players more rest between vital Premier League matches. One thing that can never be taken away from the F.A cup however is the thrill of watching two top quality teams in knock out action against one another. This weekend the meeting of Man United and Man City at Wembley should wet the apetite of any football fan. City will be eager to have the banner removed from Old Trafford that counts the years since City last won a trophy which now stands at thirty five. There would be nothing better for City fans than to see their team throw United out of the competition on their way to lifting the trophy. United will be looking to continue their recent good form and give veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar a similar send off as they did winning the treble in 1999 when Peter Schmeichel announced his retirement.
Both teams are without their most influential player for this game, Carlos Tevez who has been Cities driving force up front picked up an injury in Man Cities Monday night defeat to Liverpool. Tevez looks to be out for up to a month.City will welcome back De JOng and Silva after they were left out of Mondays game. United are without Wayne Rooney because of suspension however with both Herandez and Berbatov in good scoring form United are less likely too be worried about the absentee. Darren Fletcher remains out of contention due to illness.
Roberto Mancini has a big task ahead of him , His team were easily dumped out of the Europa League by Dynamo Kiev and most recently were hammered by Liverpool unexpectedly. Things have not been rosey in the City camp for quite some time. Edin Dzeko will most likely lead the line while being joined by Silva and Johnson in attack as City will look to De Jong and Barry to break up play and provide for the City front line. City also have the option of using Mario Balotelli whose performances seem to be blindingly excellent or terrible to the extreme . No Doubt Ballotelli himself will feel that this is the stage that he can show the world that he is the player he thinkis he is. His arrogance and lack of discipline have cost City and the players relationship with his manager in a big way this season and Mancini may see it as too big a risk to include the moody Italian.
Alex Ferguson will look to Dimitar Berbatov to partner Javier Hernandez up front and will hope the Bulgarian can show his best form on the the big day. Berbatov has blown hot and cold this season despite being the Premier Leagues leading scorer, his goals have come mostly in bunches like his hat-trick against Liverpool and the five goals he scored aginst Blackburn but often going for weeks at a time without a goal. His strike partner Hernandez however seems to score more regularly and in important games like Tuesday nights game against Chelsea. Ferguson will be hoping these two can gel and form an impressive partnership on the day. Uniteds midfield and defence seem to be coming good at the right time of the season as they begin their fight to challenge for a treble , Even the much unfancied Micheal Carrick is turning in some solid performances of late and will be hoping to get the nod ahead of Scholes.
Nobody can really look past United for this one, They look stronger than they have done all season and with their players coming back from injury and hitting top form they really are clear favourites going into this semi-final. City have been described as the noisy neighbours and will want something to shout about , a win here could re-fire up thier season and help secure a top four place in the league. There is no doubt however that this game will be end to end for ninety minutes and both teams will be pushing for the win to be in with a chance of lifting the trophy
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